December 12th •
Everyone seems to have an opinion about marketing, and whether it’s an art or a science.
Some are so set in their ways that the “art versus science” debate has reached the same level as an NFL division rivalry, with “Art” fans and “Science” fans getting into fistfights at work…possibly.
Does marketing depend on intuition and creativity? Or does it depend on analysis and measurement? Read on and decide for yourself.
You can’t get real results without data. Collecting, analyzing and acting upon raw data is what drives the iterative process and generates real growth for businesses, without question.
From creating buyer personas to improving conversion rates to A/B testing headlines, marketing without data is simply guesswork. Every model, system and hunch in marketing must be tested and improved upon to steadily advance to the top of the food chain. And without the scientific process, all that perfectly good data is going to waste.
The data gained from the science side of marketing, of course, can’t unleash its full potential without dedicated writers, designers and other visionaries to translate raw information into something more human-centric. Which brings us to…
Data can be used to understand a lot of neat stuff, but one thing artists are better at is understanding people—what people want to read, see and experience, and HOW they want to experience it.
There are certain intangibles regarding human nature that artists are better able to capture than scientists. Attempt to define your ideal customer purely through buying habits and raw data, and you wind up with a very black-and-white, not-so-useful depiction. But mix that data with an artist’s intuition and you have have a living, breathing human being—a buyer persona.
While there is a logical framework for the basics of good writing and design, the intricacies that make GREAT art go far beyond logic. Truly captivating marketing campaigns can’t be built solely on data…but they also can’t exist solely with art.
Successful marketing relies both on logical, data-driven approaches and the fluidity and adaptability of an artistic approach. Combining fact with intuition is what puts the top marketers in a league of their own.
So there it is—marketing is both an art and a science.
Many aspects of marketing are unknowable and unpredictable. But on the flip-side, other aspects CAN be measured and calculated. Ignoring one side purely out of ideological support for “Art” or “Science” is just silly.
And that’s where marketing can become an echo chamber, and things can get ugly. A team of content writers and designers who do nothing but produce “art” with no concern for results isn’t going to be around for very long.
But a team of coders or SEO specialists who do nothing but analyze data and make things “work” with no concern for human appeal ALSO isn’t going to last.
True marketing success comes from the marriage of science and art, fact and intuition, to transcend ego and produce incredible results.
If your company holds one side in higher esteem than the other, it might be time to reevaluate your position. Marketing is a balancing act, and needs both science and art to flourish.
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